Nutritional Focus

To remind any readers who are not regulars, I have Graves’ disease which is an auto-immune attack on the thyroid, induced by stress. So I’m changing my life to make sure it’s aligned with a happy healthy future.


I’m quite focused and when I apply myself to something, I really do a thorough job of it. Granted, I’m focusing my energy to avoid going mental from cabin fever as I have limited my outings to five per week. I believe that it’s insufficient to merely take the drugs and carry on, expecting to be fully well. So I am doing the following in addition to the medical treatment:

  • Homeopathic medication that is supportive of the standard medication
  • Alternative healing methods such as reflexology, Reiki, Applied kinesiology, Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping), meditation and mindfulness so far.
  • Understanding my strengths by doing various assessments and reconnecting with things I’ve enjoyed in the past. Methods have been STS Brain Profiling, Gallup’s Strengths Finder, various exercises in forgiving others, recovering from past traumas, following creative pursuits.
  • Reading and research on subjects such as introversion, happiness and restoring health. I’m investigating what my future career path looks like in order to avoid the same stresses that caused my health condition.
  • Implementing my own self-care roster to ensure I track my progress, get adequate rest and look after my health in an organised way.

I’m open to trying a variety of things in order to find something that may work. Some of the things I’ve tried have been less powerful than others, but I maintain that exploring is part of the journey. If I’m incapacitated and unable to work, I might as well find things that can help me be fully well as quickly as possible. I have not been able to implement much exercise such as yoga and Nia, but I will do so once I have adequate energy.

The aspect that I have not yet tackled is nutrition. I was feeling so bad towards the end of last year that I was ordering things like pancakes for breakfast because I thought that I might as well enjoy my way out of the world. That was not so wise in retrospect since weight loss was probably the one symptom I didn’t experience.

Many people have asked me whether I should be on any particular diet for Graves’ disease. There is no defined diet that I could find but there are foods that are to be avoided and those that support recovery from both Graves’ disease and a weak immune system (stress-related).

The foods themselves are probably not of much interest to you but the process is something that may be of interest, if you have any major medical condition. No Earth-shattering revelations but my approach is usually research, document and implement. I searched the Internet for any articles I could find that made recommendations in terms of foods to avoid and foods to include in my diet. I’m a big fan of Healing Foods by Margaret Roberts so I made sure I included her recommendations as well. I listed all the foods in an Excel spreadsheet and categorised them into Good or Bad and the types of foods e.g. protein, vegetables, fruit, grains, dairy etc.

It is interesting to note that there were some contradictions such as eggs and chicken, so I’ll just keep an eye on them as I go. I have sorted the list into the various categories and I’m going to ensure any meals I order at restaurants are focused towards the healthy foods for me. I’ll also ensure that the foods are on the shopping list. Some of the items are quite new to me and I have never cooked with them or eaten them before. But I am on a learning path so I’m open to trying new things. I do need to balance the needs of my family as well in that the kids are quite fussy and I married a veggie hater!

I have considered visiting a dietitian or nutritionist but I’m pretty sure I’ll get advice that goes something like “fresh fruit and vegetables, no caffeine or alcohol, no sugar, no dairy, no wheat”. So I’ll just wing it myself for now and as long as I’m eating well and avoiding the danger foods, I should be helping my recovery by my intake.

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I am a champion for living your passion. Writing is my passion, my destiny and my calling. I am a mother of two beautiful daughters and a wife and live in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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